I’m like the road, just going on – Taipei version

3 days in Taipei, all by myself.

What happens naturally, when alone, is excitement. No schedules, no waiting, plenty of time for thinking and for photography. There is also, however, a small component of loneliness and a bit of fear, especially at night. Maybe a pre-concept of my parents’ predicaments when I was a child, maybe a bit of melancholy thinking that I could have brought someone with me. I guess these thoughts are part of what travelling solo for a woman means. So I embraced it.

I took lots of pictures. I shared my loneliness with fellow lonely commuters in the MRT, fantasising if they were feeling a bit like me. Just going on.

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Under secular trees, I explored empty streets. Just going on.

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I took photos, loads of photos, and enjoyed the colours and images of advertisements in the shops. Just going on.

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I spend an entire day without phone and camera, only a paper map as a friend. I got lost more times I’ll ever admit. I had yummy food at food stalls, restaurants and street markets. I don’t usually take picture of my food, because I simply eat it. Not enough Millennial, I know.

I contemplate stuff, I contemplate not judging things I could not understand, like this dadaist mirror, for example:

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I saw incredible temples, then I spent Easter in a Chinese-Buddhist temple with hundreds of people leaving useless non-spiritual stuff as offers. Again, I pushed myself to check only the aesthetics of it, leaving comments behind, because “You know nothing, Jon Snow” can be applied to every tourist. Just going on.

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I fairly enjoyed the shopping, the music in the street, happy faces of youngsters walking the lanes. Just going on.File0717

I kept going on, street after street, station after station. I explored, witnessed and silently reacted to everything.

E28 Tram Lisbon: tourist jam

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If you do the most touristy thing ever, chances are there won’t be any place to sit.. or to look outside and take the most charming pictures of the day. I took tram line 28 in a sweaty afternoon of July and I found myself fighting to stand, in such a cramped space that reminded me of a New York subway afterwork.

Bar the annoyance of the first minutes, I started enjoying the fact I could not see the beauty and uniqueness outside and started taking pictures of my fellow tourists lucky enough to look outside.

The result is this photo album, enjoy.

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Frankly the best stopover of my life: Lisbon

If you take in consideration the amount of times I mention my melancholic soul, or when it clearly shows up in my words, you might understand how much I was longing to visit Lisbon. But then money, time, flight routes didn’t align. Until recently. I had my little slice of Lisbon, on my way to Spain, and it felt like I was finally reunited with myself.

It might have been the many houses crowded in the hills facing the sea, the churches and palaces popping up like flowers at every corner.

It might have been how the black and white stones on the pavements, the arches and main squares interact with the wind.

It might have been the sun peeking through the window of its trams, or the shadow created under the gigantic bridge in Alcantara.

It might have been, maybe,  the city talking to me, while I thought I was spending the day only with my very own inner voice, bad jokes included.

In less than 24h I kept moving, so did my mind. I came up with new stories, galvanised by the constant ocean breeze. I didn’t see much, mainly because I didn’t plan on a stopover-experience overkill, anyhow I felt a lot and that mattered.

I can’t wait to come back for more, Lisbon, wait for me.

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Parklife – French edition

I have been so silent lately, it is like I’m lost in words.

That is why I decided to post again, starting with a special edition of Parklife, a beloved subject of mine (as previously seen in England and Germany on my blog).

This is a b/w edit-free edition that signs my return in a quiet, non-invasive way: I am usually a bursting-with-colours-and-wit blogger, bar the times I taste the sweet taste of a Ricoh (like in London few months ago) yet I need a change to start with. The result? Some nice pics, some overexposed ones and its opposite. But I kinda feel the need to keep them like that, it must be the influx of my new polaroid.

 

So, enjoy ‘Parklife – French edition’, shot with LX100 at the Jardin Public in Bordeaux, merci.

 

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I went for Bruges, I found Ghent.

I was reading a novel on the plane, there was a love story involved. I knew it would have ended well, so I was keeping reading it to soak in the energy, and get the best of the trip, planned during – I would dare to say – the most uncertain time of my life, my trip to Belgium.

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Bruges when the sun decides to come out

 

Talking about uncertainty, the Belgium weather was the worst frenemy ever. It was like that adorable friend of yours who is also a total jerk. The result is a constant change of light, fear of water getting into my precious camera and a never-ending struggle adjusting the lens for pictures. Yet, there is an adorable part, and it’s called Ghent.

Bruges is a gem, but Ghent is the real deal. Especially at night, the all those beautiful white and brick houses reflects on the canals. So dreamy.

So, in the end, what matters if it rained all day? Those 30 minutes of sun and the evenings were just perfect. A perfect travel love story.

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The real Devil’s Bridge

Back in June I wrote an essay about my first 6 months spent in glory 2016. I wrote about my journeys, physical and emotional ones, from winter to early summer, and this summer -let me tell you- has been quite a ride too, that I’ll write down soon (very soon, promise).

One of the best moments was when I rented a car and drove with two old friends somewhere in Germany, at the border with Poland, to see a bridge. Now, it may sounds strange that three individuals go to see a bridge, none of them super particularly interested -nor expert- in architecture. But believe me, this daily trip to a random town was special. That small town has a park, in it there’s one of the weirdest bridges ever built.

Its German name is Rakotzbrücke.

What makes people want to go there is its reflection, more than its construction. The bridge can create a perfect circle when it is reflected in the waters beneath it, and believe me, it’s magic to look at. Yes, it’s an illusion, I am aware of it, but having to walk around made me appreciate the moment so much, and it wasn’t an illusion, it was a connection.

Was it the Devil’s outcome, then?

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Everybody is wondering and wandering in life. Us three wandered around the park, and wondered. I kinda feel like we all three walked that bridge, somehow. Three completely different stories, yet all poignant. Being there together was such an unique moment to share, and I humbly felt happy to rekindle our friendship with that road trip. Devil’s trick, for sure.

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From behind

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Of course, that bridge was too yummy to not filter it

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Special thanks to…

ale

andrea-paparazzi

 

And by the way… “OH MY GOD this is my favourite song ever!” 🙂

Mdina, pure magic

Of all the places visited in Malta, Mdina was the one that struck me the most.

I knew that everybody was saying it was beautiful, but it was more than that. It was such a slice of ethereal Malta. I loved everything about it: the enchanting little alleys, balconies, and stunning flowers on the walls. It was pretty much a paradise for photo lovers, or to say it in a more modern way, Instagram goals. 🙂

A trip is made of small moments, thoughts, revelations, laughters, all together, some at the same time. I had many of those during my Trip to Mdina. I also knew that the main reasons why I loved it were:

– because there weren’t so many tourists;

– because it was finally almost warm;

– because my cynic spirit for once was wrong, since it wasn’t expecting Mdina to be truly that beautiful;

– because something beautiful becomes even better when shared with others.

There, I’ll say it. I found it was a special, magic place, that sunny afternoon.

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Valletta at dusk

A windy evening of May, I landed in Malta.

The first stop, after copious raining, was a wet and charming Valletta at dusk. The city was empty, colourful, fascinating.

Upper Barrakka Gardens are the perfect point at sunset, they give you a glimpse of the contrast between the walled city and the sea. Be sure to head there once, you won’t be disappointed.

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While strolling, I remember thinking how Valletta looked like an infinite catwalk. The street are the perfect (red) carpets, ups and downs of baroque charme, old houses and the walls to frame the scenery. There I wished I was a fashion photographer, taking pictures of beautiful people at every corner, every street. I ain’t a photographer, yet I had however, my trustful camera, to capture the vibes of the place, and a handsome fella, to explore arm in arm: the odds were in my favour that evening.

The city is anything but luxury, yet it has that certain rich appeal that only a Mediterranean city can pass to you. And I was content with that, with that shots, with that trip.

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Can we agree to say that quietness looked so strange? There, there were some cats, soaking up the last ray of sun in the evening. Quiet, posh, and avoiding in every case your attention. Or the camera… paparazzi style…

… That’s right, at the end of the day, Valletta, so empty, looked like an old Hollywood movie.

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Hello, Malta

The Mediterranean colours called, in May. Hello, Malta.

What an excitement to go for a little adventure, especially during low season, especially if it involves the sea and the perfect month to enjoy the good weather without a scorched skin. Yet, the weather was rather unpredictable…

MY FAULT:  I was asking for beautiful sunny-but-not-hot days and karma graced me with unchangeable, sunny-but-pretty-cold weather. Bar the complaints, its landscape was stunning.

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I am a nordic creature, amazed to see how many shades of brown and yellow an island down south can have. I’m used to green, but I liked what I saw, especially from the boat. There’s something magic with floating on open sea, and navigating around islands and its cliffs. And I felt light, kinda dreamy.

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With only 2 full days and no car, you got kinda limited time to visit all.

The plan was to divide and conquer: the most famous cities Valletta, Mdina; a day in Gozo, mixing Victoria with some beach time (my tolerance once with a swim suit lasted exactly 1:22 minutes but hey); smaller but charming places, like Sliema and the fishing village of Marsaxlokk (where I ate the most delicious grilled octopus ever). Props to the bus and ferry system, quite good and easy to use (and a tip for you, get the 7-Day Explore Card!!).

I leave here few snaps of the places visited. Enjoy.

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Sliema

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Marsaxlokk

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Marsaxlokk

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Victoria, Citadella

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Victoria, Citadella from the roofs

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Exploring Gozo

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Cliffs in Had-Dingli